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Elon Musk unveils the Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla CEO Elon Musk took the stage to reveal details about the company’s new and unconventional Cybertruck pickup on Thursday in Austin, one day after he appeared in a bizarre interview at the DealBook Summit in New York. At that earlier event, Musk boasted, “It will be the biggest product launch of anything by far on Earth this year.”

At the event in Austin, Musk said the Cybertruck’s hard steel body was bulletproof, and that its windows were “rock proof.” He said it could tow over 11,000 pounds, accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.6 seconds, and features a “super-tough” composite bed that is six feet long and four feet wide. Musk added that the vehicle would “change the look of the roads” and that the “future finally looks like the future.”

Musk then presented several newly produced trucks to customers, who drove away in them.

In an October earnings call, Musk struck a more cautious note saying, “There will be enormous challenges in reaching volume production with the Cybertruck, and then in making the Cybertruck cashflow positive.” He also said at that time, “we dug our own grave with Cybertruck,” pointing out “unique challenges” in producing and bringing that truck to market.

According to Tesla’s website, the company will sell its base model rear-wheel drive version of the Cybertruck for an estimated $60,990 and a “Cyberbeast” version for $99,990, with deliveries for both of these trims starting next year. Tesla also plans to sell an all-wheel drive version of the Cybertruck for $79,900 starting in 2025, per the company website.

The base model rear-wheel drive Cybertruck is expected to have a 250-mile range battery and accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds, and the all-wheel drive Cybertruck is expected to have a range of 340 miles and go 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.1 seconds with a top speed of 112 miles per hour. The highest-end Cyberbeast would have the fastest acceleration and a range of 320 miles, estimated, with a top speed of 130 miles per hour.

Tesla first unveiled the Cybertruck — with its angular and unpainted hard steel body — in November 2019. It had previously said production of the vehicle would start in 2021, and the truck would sell at the entry-level price of $39,900 for a rear-wheel-drive version, and around $69,000 for a highest-spec, tri-motor version– far more affordable than the prices Tesla listed on Thursday.

The company began taking $100 refundable “reservations” for the Cybertruck after it was unveiled, and the company said it received more than 1 million reservations since its debut. (Customers must now put down $250 to move ahead with a Cybertruck order, per the Tesla website.)

While Tesla unveiled its Cybertruck design in 2019, it only began early Cybertruck production in July this year.

Meanwhile, competitors including Ford, General Motors and Rivian began to sell their more utilitarian electric pickups. Earlier this week, Rivian, which only manufactures battery electric vehicles (like Tesla) started to offer a leasing option for select models of its all-electric R1T pickup truck.

The U.S. electric pickup truck market has not expanded as quickly as some thought when the Cybertruck was initially revealed. Several start-ups have either now brought vehicles to market or did with little success such as Lordstown Motors. Both GM and Ford have announced plans to scale back, postpone or cancel EV products and investments, including some related to EV trucks.

Tesla shares closed lower on Thursday by about 2% and were flat after hours.

— CNBC’s Mike Wayland contributed to this report.

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OpenAI says in memo that Musk’s claims ‘stem from Elon’s regrets’ that he’s not part of company

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OpenAI says in memo that Musk's claims ‘stem from Elon’s regrets’ that he’s not part of company

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, at the Hope Global Forums annual meeting in Atlanta on Dec. 11, 2023.

Dustin Chambers | Bloomberg | Getty Images

OpenAI executives disputed claims Elon Musk laid out in a lawsuit on Thursday, and said the Tesla CEO is upset that he’s no longer part of the artificial intelligence startup.

“We believe the claims in this suit may stem from Elon’s regrets about not being involved with the company today,” wrote OpenAI Chief Strategy Officer Jason Kwon in an internal memo on Friday that was viewed by CNBC. “It is deeply disappointing to see Elon take this action against a company he helped start, especially given his close collaboration with some of you who are still here working towards the mission.”

Musk co-founded OpenAI in 2015 and stepped down from its board in 2018, four years after saying that AI is “potentially more dangerous than nukes.”

Musk is now suing Microsoftbacked OpenAI and CEO Sam Altman, among others, alleging they abandoned the company’s founding mission to develop artificial intelligence “for the benefit of humanity broadly.”

Since releasing the ChatGPT chatbot to the public in late 2022, OpenAI has become one of the hottest startups on the planet, with a valuation reportedly over $80 billion. The company’s convoluted “capped-profit” structure resulted in Altman being briefly ousted by the board late last year, before an uproar among investors and employees led to his quick reinstatement.

Musk has long wanted recognition for his central role in the creation of OpenAI, and he spent large chunks of the lawsuit telling his version of events. His lawyers said in the suit that Musk was approached in 2015 by Altman and OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman and agreed to form a nonprofit lab that would develop artificial general intelligence, or AGI, outside of the corporate sphere.

Musk’s attorneys said their client contributed over $15 million to OpenAI in 2016, which was “more than any other donor” and helped the startup build a team of “top talent.” The next year, Musk gave nearly $20 million to OpenAI, which the attorneys reiterated was more than other backers. In total, Musk invested over $44 million into OpenAI from 2016 through September 2020, according to the suit.

Additionally, Musk leased OpenAI’s initial office space “and paid the monthly rental expenses,” the suit said. He was also “present for important company milestones.”

Kwon didn’t dispute Musk’s central role in the early days of OpenAI, but he added some other details. For example, Kwon wrote that Musk at one point indicated he needed “full initial control and majority equity” and later suggested that OpenAI merge with Tesla.

“We did not think either approach was right for the mission,” Kwon wrote.

In the memo, Altman called Musk a hero of his and said the he misses the old version of his co-founder. But he said the company’s mission continues.

While it’s the first time the dispute between the two sides has resulted in a fiery lawsuit, they’ve been at odds for a while.

Before he split with OpenAI, Tesla hired co-founder Andrej Karpathy as senior director of AI. Karpathy returned to OpenAI in 2023. And Musk has been notably vocal in his opposition to OpenAI and its Microsoft partnership in recent years, stating publicly in November that OpenAI had deviated from its original mission.

“OpenAI should be renamed ‘super closed source for maximum profit AI,’ because this is what it actually is,” Musk said onstage at The New York Times’ DealBook conference. Regarding OpenAI’s transformation from an “open source foundation” to a multibillion-dollar for-profit company, Musk said, “I don’t know, is this legal?”

Kwon insisted on Friday that OpenAI is independent and continues to work “to ensure AGI benefits all of humanity.”

Musk’s lawyers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

— CNBC’s Lora Kolodny and Hayden Field contributed to this report

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Elon Musk's lawsuit against OpenAI and Altman began a year ago, says Musk biographer Walter Isaacson

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Waymo approved by regulator to expand robotaxi service in Los Angeles, San Francisco Peninsula

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Waymo approved by regulator to expand robotaxi service in Los Angeles, San Francisco Peninsula

Passengers ride in an electric Waymo full self-driving technology in Santa Monica

Allen J. Schaben | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Alphabet’s Waymo robotaxi unit won approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to expand service to parts of Los Angeles and the Bay Area, according to a notice posted to the regulator’s website on Friday.

“Waymo may begin fared driverless passenger service operations in the specified areas of Los Angeles and the San Francisco Peninsula, effective today,” the release said.

In mid-February, Waymo initiated a voluntary recall filing notice with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, saying it would fix software issues. The recall followed two previously undisclosed incidents that occurred in Phoenix on Dec. 11, in which unmanned Waymo vehicles crashed into the same towed pickup truck within minutes of each other.

The collisions added to existing concerns about autonomous vehicle use in California. Competing taxi and transit service providers and labor activists are worried about the loss of drivers’ jobs, while safety advocates wrote letters to regulators and politicians asking them to thwart Waymo’s expansion in the state.

The CPUC in February had suspended Waymo’s expansion efforts for up to 120 days to provide for added review time.

In its letter on Friday, the regulator said it was approving the new proposal, due in part to “Waymo’s updated Passenger Safety Plan (PSP), submitted in connection with its expanded operational design domain (ODD) for deployment,” which was also approved by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

“We’re grateful to the CPUC for this vote of confidence in our operations, which paves the way for the deployment of our commercial Waymo One service in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Peninsula,” a Waymo spokesperson said in a statement.

Waymo’s progress in California comes after General Motors-owned Cruise and Apple bowed out of the autonomous vehicle business in California, while Elon Musk’s Tesla has yet to develop an autonomous vehicle that can safely operate without a human driver at the controls.

California regulators halted operations of self-driving Cruise robotaxis in October after a series of incidents, including one that resulted in a robotaxi rolling over a pedestrian who had first been hit by a human-driven car and was then pulled forward about 20 feet by the Cruise vehicle.

Waymo’s new approvals allow the company’s robotaxis to operate close to Tesla’s Palo Alto engineering headquarters in San Mateo County.

The latest notice applies to the commercial ride-sharing service Waymo One. The company has deployed testing vehicles in those areas for several years.

WATCH: Crowd burns Waymo in San Francisco

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Super Micro joining S&P 500 after stock price soars more than 20-fold in two years

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Super Micro joining S&P 500 after stock price soars more than 20-fold in two years

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Super Micro Computer is joining the S&P 500 following a historic rally in the stock that has pushed the company’s market cap past $50 billion.

The shares, up more than 20-fold in the past two years and over 200% just since the start of 2024, climbed another 8% in extended trading on Friday.

Super Micro is replacing Whirlpool, according to a press release. Deckers Outdoor is also joining the S&P 500, replacing Zions Bancorporation.

Stocks added to the benchmark index often rise in value because funds that track the S&P 500 will add it to their portfolios. The median market cap for companies in the S&P 500 is $33.7 billion.

Super Micro has been one of the main beneficiaries of the artificial intelligence boom sweeping the technology industry. The company makes servers and other computer infrastructure, and it’s one of the primary vendors for building out Nvidia-based “clusters” of servers for training and deploying AI models.

In the quarter that ended December, Super Micro’s revenue more than doubled to $3.66 billion. Analysts expect sales in the current quarter to more than triple.

“We see Nvidia’s results as a positive data point for SMCI which is one of the leading partners that designs and manufactures servers to wrap around the GPUs and customizes racks to the specific needs of a customer,” Bank of America analyst Ruplu Bhattacharya wrote in a note last month. He has a buy rating on the stock.

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